How I Got This Shot: Photog

Widener recalls capturing Tank Man image 20 years ago
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2009 6:26 AM CDT
Students stage a protest in front of Chinese Embassy in Berlin, Thursday June 4, 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on 1989's Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in China.    (AP Photo/Maya Hitij)
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(Newser) – On the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, one image endures: a lone man standing in front of a column of tanks, refusing to let them pass. Jeff Widener, the AP photographer who captured the moment, tells USA Today how he evaded the police and the censors to take the shot and get it out of China.

Security forces rumored to be carrying cattle prods were repelling journalists from the high-rise hotel near the square, but a guest helped Widener, his film stuffed down his underwear, sneak into a room. From there, he went to the roof where he stayed for hours, nearly missing the shot—he took three photographs but only one came out. Widener was back in China recently: "There's a Starbucks on every corner. But it was hard not to see everything through the prism of what happened 20 years ago."